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GSR 2023

Measuring digital development: Facts and Figures 2022

ITU’s Measuring digital development: Facts and Figures 2022 offers a snapshot of the most important ICT indicators, including estimates for the current year.

Latest figures show that an estimated 5.3 billion people of the earth’s 8 billion are using the Internet in 2022, or roughly 66 per cent of the world’s population. At the same time, three quarters of the population aged 10 years and over own a mobile phone. On average, in almost all regions the percentage of individuals owning a mobile phone is higher than the percentage of Internet users, but the gap has been shrinking. This is mirrored by the fact that mobile-broadband subscriptions continue to grow fast, approaching mobile-cellular subscriptions, which is plateauing.

The statistics further show that young people are the driving force of connectivity, with 75 per cent of the 15-24 year old now online, compared with 65 per cent among the rest of the population. And while the gender parity score in Internet use, defined as the percentage of women divided by the percentage of men using the Internet is slowly improving, the population of non-Internet users has also become more skewed as women are more often left behind.

The affordability of entry-level fixed- and mobile-broadband services improved in 2022 compared to the previous year. The global gap still remains wide: for the average consumer in a typical low-income economy, the cheapest mobile broadband basket costs more than 9 per cent of their income, over six times the global price.

Measuring digital development - Facts and Figures: Focus on Least Developed Countries

ITU’s Measuring digital development - Facts and Figures: Focus on Least Developed Countries looks at the state of digital connectivity in the LDCs, as a contribution to the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5). Based on Measuring Digital Development: Facts and Figures 2022, it shows a series of the most important ICT indicators, going back where possible to 2011 to show progress of LDCs achieved during the Istanbul Program of Action, agreed at LDC-IV. At the same time, the publication informs on the attainment of SDG Target 9c, which aims to “significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020”. New compared with Facts and Figures 2022 is an analysis showing the great diversity within the group of 46 LDCs. The publication also contains some tables with country-level data, including affordability data for 2022 not published before.

The analysis shows that universal and meaningful connectivity – the possibility for everyone to enjoy a safe, satisfying, enriching, productive and affordable online experience – remains a distant prospect for LDCs. For example, only 36 per cent of the population in LDCs used the Internet in 2022, compared with 66 per cent globally. As many as seventeen per cent of the population in LDCs did not even have access to a fixed or mobile broadband network, the so-called access gap. The remaining 47 per cent offline population, representing the usage gap, were facing other barriers, such as the affordability of ICT services. Accessing the Internet in LDCs is more costly than anywhere else. The price of a benchmark mobile broadband basket with 2 GB monthly allowance in a typical LDC amounts to almost 6 per cent of the average income – around four times the typical world price of 1.5 per cent. Only 2 LDCs met the UN Broadband Commission’s affordability 2 per cent target.​

This publication further provides insights in the inequality in Internet use by gender, age and urban/rural area, as well as indicators on subscriptions, mobile phone ownership and international bandwidth usage.